Artisan yarn supplier meets vintage seafarer

Weird knitting habits, words of wisdom and a KAL with a twist

Hello again

Today we’re discussing all the things I said we would in the first post!

  1. A weird knitting habit of mine
  2. Words of wisdom
  3. An unusual knit-along idea – yay or nay? 

Incidentally, I knit and crochet and sometimes mean both when I say knitting.It’s not crochet discrimination! It's just easier to read more so than ‘knitting and/or crochet’ every time (like ‘him or her’, ‘he or she’ etc. ).

So, first up a weird knitting habit.

On Ravelrythe knitting (and crochet!) website (which in fact includes such things as spinning and weaving too, but let’s stay on track) – there is a hugely helpful area known as the forums. Ravelers ask and answer questions about patterns, techniques, identifying yarn etc. It’s an interesting – and big – place.

Within the forums area is a specific ‘Australian knitters’ group. And within that is an area for users in Oz to sell their unwanted yarn.

Now, this is generally yarn that has been in a person’s stash for X number of months/years. And they have decided they don’t want it anymore. And it’s usually single skeins of handpainted fingering yarn (absolutely no use to me, who wants sweater quantities of everything DK and tonal at present). And they are generally selling it for about $2 less than the RRP (if that). To summarise, we are talking old, unwanted, unneeded wool.

Yet, without fail, if I see that something new has been posted in this forum, I have to see what it is. Nine times out of ten, when my husband asks if I’m looking at old wool on my iPad, I have to say yes.

Why can’t I stop looking at this stuff? I have never bought anything from it. I doubt I ever will. Frankly, I’m wasting good knitting time.

So that’s my confession: I am near-obsessed with seeing what people have bought/hoarded for eons and subsequently decided is not for them. 

Do I secretly want it? Does anyone else do this? What’s the appeal? Seriously, I have no idea what draws me to this thread every day, but I am hooked – please help me understand what I am doing. Also, if you happen to have a weird knitting habit of your own that may make me feel better, please put it in the comments so that I may sigh in relief that I’m not the only one…

A bit of my stash

Let’s move onto words of wisdom.

I recently made a sweater by Caitlin Hunter (a pretty big name in knitting design: more than 41k Instagram followers the last time I stalked her). 

I came unstuck even before beginning. Needle sizes were foxing me and I went round in circles for a while before finally deciding to bite the bullet and email the designer. She replied very quickly with a plethora of information that more than answered my questions; in fact, she seemed to have anticipated my next thoughts and answered those too! Very clever. I learned a lot from her advice, but what stood out most was, ‘sometimes it just comes down to what [needles] you have to hand!' Hello, lightbulb...

I used to like to make sure I had the right kit – exactly the right kit – before starting a project. That was difficult on this occasion, because I planned to buy new needles for the sweater but, without having the needles already, how could I check my gauge and know which needles to buy?! And there was information in the pattern about going up (and up) in needle sizes for different parts of the sweater, which made it sound as though I was going to need many many needles, to say nothing of cable lengths…

Anyway, since then I have knocked out a few more sweaters and it has been a far smoother process. I have learned that I can just play around with ‘what I have to hand’ and the world won’t end! I have also bought many many needles since then and it turns out that having lots more needles makes it far easier to work with what you have to hand ;)

My Sunset Highway

Finally the knit-along.

Have you ever done a knit-along? Usually known as a KAL; it generally involves choosing wool or buying a kit for a pattern that you then knit at the same time as all the other people who have decided to join in. You don’t always have to knit the same thing: my knitting group did a shawl-along last year, in which participants chose any yarn and shawl pattern they liked. Or sometimes a designer or fan of a designer will suggest picking any pattern of theirs and working on them at the same time.

A popular variation is the mystery KAL, or MKAL. A new pattern is split into sections and participants are given one section (known as a clue) each week or fortnight to complete, with the full design being kept a secret until you finish your item (or see it on social media).

Recently, I came across a KAL with a twist. It’s called Addition by Subtraction and takes the form of a murder mystery. You are introduced to the four ‘suspects’, each represented by one yarn in the pattern, and you choose your yarn according to the suspects’ personalities. Then the clues aka pattern instructions apparently lead you to the denouement. It’s currently underway on Ravelry and seems to be a massive hit if the number of projects linked to the pattern (>1000) is anything to go by.

If you think it sounds like fun, you can find all the details herelet me know if you join the hunt! 

See you next time :) 

Laura



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